Growing a Radically Democratic U.S. Relational Culture

Second in the Series “Building a Case for Cultural Work in White Rural America”

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the last photograph i took in waters creek, wilderville, oregon before moving back home to california

“You are an explorer, and you represent our species, and the greatest good you can do is to bring back a new idea, because our world is endangered by the absence of good ideas.” ~Terence McKenna

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8 dollar mountain, kalmiopsis wilderness, rogue river siskiyou national forest, southern oregon, the site of my first full ethnographic immersion

African American cultural workers developed a variety of ethical practices to cope with the simultaneous truths that American capitalism seemed unwilling to fully temper its desire for hateful grotesques, and that survival requires earning a paycheck.

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Sea Ranch, California, site of the second full ethnographic immersion

“Radical was first an adjective, borrowed in the 14th century from the Late Latin radicalis, itself from Latin radic-, radix, meaning ‘root.’

…None of this will surprise the botanists: they know that radical leaves grow from the base of a stem or from a rootlike stem, and radical tubers grow from a plant’s root. And linguists know that a verb’s radical form is its root form. In medicine, radical surgery is surgery that’s designed to remove the root of a disease.

Think of democracy as a tree with its roots in human cultural conditions. In order for that tree to grow healthy and strong, the human social soil in which it is planted needs to be nourishing and supportive.

In other words, democratic ecosystems are most healthy and abundant when the social soil in which they grow — the cumulative cultural effect of individual relational practices and norms — is also healthy.

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RDP’s 5 Elements of Democratic Cultural Work

The Relational Democracy Project is a start-up for an industry that can rebuild the relational infrastructure of our democratic culture by creating enabling conditions for the proliferation of human power-sharing practices.

SF Bay Area critical researcher, creative, & cultural worker. Content developer for The Relational Democracy Project relationaldemocracy@gmail.com IG @dr.cbg

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